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The Dangers of Your “Snooze Button” Habit
Like so many pleasurable things in life, the snooze button is your best friend and your worst enemy.
On a typical morning, the sound of your alarm jolting you from your dreams probably has you reaching for the snooze button so fast, you don’t even remember hitting it.
If we’re right on the money, you’re not alone.
More than one-third of Americans hit the snooze button at least three times per morning, while half of the young adult population uses it at least once daily (1).
Which begs the question… if snoozing so common, what’s the problem?
What’s Wrong with Snoozing?
While you may think that those extra ten-minute bursts of partial sleep are beneficial, they actually do more harm than good for your brain and body.
Here’s how your snooze routine breaks down, internally speaking:
When you’re startled awake by your alarm, your body lurches into the fight or flight response and your sympathetic nervous system engages full throttle, releasing hormones and chemicals to get you up and alert.
When that initial spike in body function happens, your body assumes you’re about to get up and begin your day.
But then you hit the snooze button — and your body attempts to settle back down through a roller coaster of balancing acts.
Then, your alarm chimes again, re-engaging your sympathetic nervous system and repeating the cycle until you eventually get up.
This confusion in wakefulness takes a toll on your body, and you expend energy as your nervous system tries to make sense of your actions.
Experts say that these cycles of ups and downs can have dangerous effects on your physiological wellbeing.
Due to the release of cortisol every time your nervous system re-engages, prolonged use of the snooze button over a significant period of time can lead to inflammation, chronic diseases and several other health problems (2).
Want to skip the snooze, but aren’t sure how?
We’ve compiled the best tips and tricks to help you get up as soon as your alarm goes off, so you can start your day full of energy.
How to Ditch the Snooze
Here are 5 tried and true strategies to end habitual snoozing:
1. Put Your Alarm Across the Room
2. Give Your Mornings Meaning
Try scheduling something fun in the early morning. This could be anything from prepping your meals to catching up with old friends over coffee — the only requirement is that it’s something you enjoy.
If you’re waking up for something that you’re actually looking forward to, you’re much less likely to procrastinate via the snooze button.
3. Work It Out
Extreme as it may sound, try doing something vigorous and physical immediately after stepping out of bed. This could be 15 jumping jacks, a sprint around your living room or a bunch of crunches.
Along with the engagement of your nervous system, exercise complements your body’s chemical and hormone production and gets you invigorated and ready for the day.
It’s almost impossible to be groggy after brisk exercise.
4. Change Your Tunes
Switch up your alarm sounds daily so your brain doesn’t become immune to the tune. Try cycling through your favorite songs, commercial jingles, television theme songs and anything else that strikes your fancy.
The novelty of new sound will help you wake up more alert, instead of waking up groggy to the same old tune.
5. Bathe in Light
It’s extremely important to bathe yourself in as much natural light as you can as soon as possible after you wake up, to help regulate your sleep/wake cycle.
Try placing your alarm by your window, so you’re exposed to direct sunlight while getting up to turn your alarm off.
If real light isn’t feasible for you, consider investing in a light-based alarm that wakes you up gradually by mimicking a sunrise (3).
So Long, Snooze
Snooze buttons are bad for your energy levels, your physical health and your mental health — and skipping snooze will have you feeling well rested and ready to take on the day.
So place your alarm far away to help you physically get out of bed. Schedule coffee with those old friends who keep writing “omg, we have to catch up soon!” on your Instagram. Jazz yourself up with some short workouts. Change your alarm to the Game of Thrones theme song. Bathe in all the sunlight you can as soon as you wake up.
By doing all of the above, you’ll stop hitting snooze, and start experiencing your mornings in a whole new light.
(1) “Sympathetic nervous system." Science Daily, www.sciencedaily.com/terms/sympathetic_nervous_system.htm. Accessed 20 Jun. 2019.
(2) Harvey-Jenner, Catriona. “Why snoozing your alarm could be damaging your health." Cosmopolitan, 2 Apr. 2019, www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/a26854166/snooze-alarm-snoozing-bad-for-health/
(3) Willson, Amelia. “How to Avoid Hitting the Snooze Button.” Tuck, 30 Jan. 2018, www.tuck.com/avoid-hitting-snooze-button/